The Servant in Isaiah 48:16

Just been puzzling over this passage this morning:

1st person:  Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.  13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.  14 Assemble, all of you, and listen!  Who among them has declared these things? 

3rd person: The LORD loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.

1st person: 15 I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way. 

1st person: Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it (feminine) came to be (me-et hayiotaa) I have been there.” 16 And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.  17

3rd person: Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

1st person:I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:12-17

  1. the Heavens and the Earth (and those that would try to determine the future by them)
  2. Israel
  3. The LORD
  4. Cyrus
  5. the Spirit of God
  6. ???

Who is the speaker in vs 16?

One candidate might be Isaiah.  But Isaiah doesn’t fit the description. The prepositional phrase, ‘merosh’, translated ‘from the beginning’ in vs 16 is only found in three other places in Isaiah – both of them in this same section of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:21 Have ye not known? have yet not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning [merosh]? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

Isaiah 41:4 Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning [merosh]? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Both verses refer to primordial beginnings. If we assume that ‘merosh‘ has the same meaning here then it must refer to someone much greater than Isaiah.  For the same reasons, the speaker cannot be Cyrus.

The one who speaks in the 1st person in vs 16 is best understood as the Servant who was introduced in 42:1ff and is again mentioned again in 49:1-6 (once again speaking in the first person), and, of course, in Isaiah 53.


Atheism in Isaiah

 Atheism in Isaiah (47:8-10):

You felt secure…

You said in your heart…

I am and there is no one besides me…(8)

No one sees me…(10)

I am and there is no one besides me. (10)

Your wisdom and your knowledge have led you astray.


The king of Urartu announced today that he supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians.  “Its been a long journey but, by the strength of Khaldi, I’ve seen the light,” the king said at a gathering of city notables.  Shariri, the priest of Mushashir, also spoke out in favor of a more inclusive definition of marriage, “We believe that all people, without consideration of gender, race, age, or number, have the right to unite in holy ‘mony’ whether it be ‘mater’, ‘pater’, or ‘nater’.”  When asked whether the proposed amendments to the Code might have a detrimental effect on children, Shariri called attention to the recent research conducted by Sevan University that has convincingly proven that it is better for a child to be raised in a fostering, non-traditional home than in a traditional, bigoted one.

The proposed changes to the Code arrive on the heels of exciting new medical advances.  Ashurbanipal, a researcher in Asshur, has recently written on the phenomena of protandry and protogyny as observed in flatworms and several varieties of swamp eels.  His research has led to the development of a new  hormone therapy that now makes sex change available to human beings as well.  Ashurbanipal encourages children to wait before deciding whether they are male, female or something in between.

The desire to have children by lesbian ‘couples’ has opened up new markets for entrepreneurs.   ‘Pick-a-Kid’, a cutting-edge family consultation firm, recently created a comprehensive database of sperm donors.  A lesbian couple can now select the father of their child from a list of over 60 x 6 anonymous donors.  Each catalog entry contains detailed information about the males appearance, hobbies, music preferences and how many Cimmerians he has slain on the battlefield.  Many of the donors are university students who are feeling pressured by rising tuition costs.  An unblemished, male student, without a criminal record, can earn as much as a shekel per donation at one of Pick-a-Kid’s many clinics around the country.  “Its great,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous. “I owe Pick-A-Kid my education.”  His youthful enthusiasm was only briefly tempered when asked how it felt to be a father.  “I am humbled to be the biological father of possibly dozens of children,” he said solemnly.  When asked whether he had considered the possibility that one of his children might unknowingly marry a half-sister or half-brother or that they might wish to know their paternal half, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  This is not the first time such questions have been raised in public, but a spokeswoman for ‘Pick-a-Kid’ dismissed them as purely “hypothetical” and reminds all Urartuans that no great engineering project has ever been implemented without a cost.  “Incest is a small price to pay for equality,” she added.

Lodi, the kings treasurer, believes that these recent advancements in human freedom and equality will result in economic growth.  In a cuneiform transcript released by his office on Rehov Homa he highlighted the ways finance can help in making children more accessible to the biologically disadvantaged. “With the advancement of cyrotechnology and the emergence of sperm banks, we will soon be able to trade ‘future-children’ on commodity markets like wheat and orange juice,” he said.  When asked whether he had any misgivings about the potential commoditization of children, he replied, “We are doing Teshub’s work”.  The Rabshakeh has also expressed support for this plan, noting the significant advantages to be gained from derivative contracts in ‘future-children’ as a hedge against the economic costs of an aging population.

The King of Urartu’s main political opponent has politely side stepped the issue of gay marriage, wishing rather to focus on stubbornly high unemployment levels and the rising use of food stamps.  “People are demoralized and need to be reminded how exceptional Urartu really is,” he said.  Meanwhile, a conservative oracle openly berated those within the conservative ranks who insist on making an issue out of gay marriage, arguing that they are, “on the wrong side of history.”  Progressive oracles have taken a more direct approach towards opponents of the new legislation, calling on the king to “cut off their heads.”  The king is unlikely to take such drastic measures, however, preferring rather to dialog “as civilized people and not like the Cimmerians.”  We can only hope that reason will prevail.